This article considers Nabokov’s Lolita as an allegory of the Cold War’s obsession with uranium, correlating the uranium rush of the 1950s with the choice of some of the key locations in the book. The incursion into United States space by the foreign agent and corrupter of youth Humbert Humbert is read through the lens of Cold War anxieties about radiation, missile attack through the DEW Line and a “mapping” of America by subversive aliens. Lolita herself is the Uranium Girl, radiant child of nuclear America under threat from the death ray of the bomb’s fallout.
Research Article|November 01 2008
HOT ROCKS AND THE URANIUM Girl: Nabokov’s LOLITA
ADAM PIETTE IS A PROFESSOR OF MODERN LITERATURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD. HE IS THE AUTHOR OF REMEMBERING AND THE SOUND OF WORDS AND IMAGINATION AT WAR. HIS CURRENT BOOK, THE LITERARY COLD WAR, IS FORTHCOMING FROM EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY PRESS.
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Cultural Politics (2008) 4 (3): 309-329.